“Mentor” is the first word that came to mind on Sunday afternoon when David Thomas Lloyd recalled his father, David Lloyd, a noted tenor, recording artist, educator and longtime director of the Lake George Opera Festival.
David Lloyd died Friday at the age of 92.
“Everybody has mentors in their lives, and while he was a mentor to so many amazing young artists, many of whom are still in the peaks of their careers and who would credit him for giving them their start in the business, he was my mentor as well as my dad,” David Thomas Lloyd explained.
David Lloyd was best known locally for his work as general director of the Lake George Opera Festival, a position he held from 1962 until 1980. While working there, he started an Apprentice Artist Program as a way to bring young professional singers into a training environment.
“In those years, the Lake George Opera was producing 46 performances of five or six operas every summer, in repertoire,” David Thomas Lloyd recalled.
Nick Buttino of South Glens Falls worked as business manager for the Lake George Opera from 1966 until 1982.
“We worked together for many, many years and watched the company grow from a small, amazing little operation into a kind of a world-renowned type of organization,” he recounted.
Buttino credited the organization’s growth to David Lloyd’s leadership and his talent for motivating others.
“I saw that not only with his work with the young artists that he developed … but the way he captivated the local people to want to work for this amazing cultural entity that we had,” he said.
The Lake George Opera has since been renamed Opera Saratoga. Curtis Tucker of Clifton Park is the organization’s general director. He called the company a legacy to David Lloyd.
“So much of the formative work to our company, that laid all of the groundwork from which we’ve hopefully continued, was really laid by David Lloyd, by his leadership and his determination and his reputation,” he commented.
A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Music and Curtis Institute of Music, Lloyd was a World War II Naval aviator in his younger days. He went on to become a Koussevitzky protege at Tanglewood with Goldovsky, Caldwell and Bernstein.
He was a leading tenor with the New York City Opera from 1950 to 1958, in 1965 and 1976.
He performed up until the mid 1970s with the New York City Opera and around the world, but then scaled back on his performances when he began devoting his time to multiple academic positions and the Lake George Opera.
He held faculty and administrative positions in vocal instruction with the University of Iowa and West Virginia University, and was director of the Hunter Opera Workshop at Hunter College. He also served as director of opera at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, and as director of the American Opera Center at Juilliard School of Music.
As director of the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, a position he held from 1990 until 2001, he was helped provide young singer-actors with financial support.
David Lloyd was married to his late wife, violinist Maria Lloyd, for 54 years. Surviving relatives include his wife, Barbara Wilson Lloyd; his son and daughter-in-law, David Thomas and Theresa Treadway Lloyd; and his grandson, David Van Lloyd. A memorial service will be planned.